With Ramon Foster injured in the Week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, the unknown Guard, BJ Finney, stepped into the game.
One year ago, one of the most heart-warming stories of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the signing of undrafted rookie BJ Finney. After learning that he had been signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers after going undrafted out of Kansas State University, a tearful Finney announced to his family that his dream had come true.
Despite growing up in Kansas, Finney claimed that he always wanted to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. He admired the Steelers growing up and always aspired to be a part of the franchise. After being signed by the Steelers last offseason, BJ Finney was cut by the team following training camp but luckily received an opportunity through the practice squad.
Throughout his entire football career, Finney has always proved doubters wrong. At Kansas State, Finney was a walk-on player who transformed into a starting Center for all four years and a captain for three of them. In his entire four-year span as a starter, Finney allowed just 2.5 sacks.
In the draft, BJ Finney was expected to come off the board. According to NFL.com, he was projected to be a 4th or 5th round pick due to his sheer strength as a blocker and even received praise from multiple anonymous coaches across the league.
It was his athletism that has brought him down. Finney was accused of being stiff, and not very fast off the snap. It was believed that in the pros, he would struggle mightily blocking speedy linebackers coming flying through the gaps, but multiple scouts claimed that he was a player that could really improve after a few years.
On Sunday Night against the Chiefs, BJ Finney was truly something special. Coming into the game, most fans probably didn’t know who he was. The fans that did probably thought “Hey, wasn’t that the practice squad guy who barely made the team?” and a lot questioned the decision considering the Steelers signed tackle Ryan Harris in the offseason, who was part of the protection team that won Super Bowl 50 a season ago.
Clearly, BJ Finney was the way to go. He consistently held his ground against opposing runners but was also absolutely fantastic when it came to blocking on the ground game. Le’Veon Bell returned triumphantly, but it was the Offensive Line that cleared the path that allowed him to succeed so well.
On Le’Veon Bell’s longest run of the night, BJ Finney was one of the most instrumental blockers in the play. While it was extremely entertaining to watch Pouncey manage to stay ahead of Bell and keep blocking down the field, it was the initial block by Finney that made all the difference.
On the snap, Finney broke off and made a huge block on star pass rusher Tamba Hali that allowed Bell to cut through and run down the field.
Offensive Linemen simply do not receive the credit they deserve. No offense can succeed or at least perform near their potential without a good Offensive Line (Example: Seahawks). It is the most underrated position in football, and it could very well be the most important. They make the space for running backs to run, and they allow the time for quarterbacks to throw.
For the Steelers, it’s always been about Next Man Up. Through the many injuries endured through the last few seasons, the Steelers always seem to be able to rely on their backups, and it’s important that every team have those backups they can depend on.
BJ Finney may have been an underdog for his whole football career, but he has transformed into a player that could be a very solid starter down the stretch. With him, there’s just no counting him out. BJ Finney is living his dream, and he should be a role model to everyone in the world that dreams truly can come true.